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Hate crime killer executed in U.S. state of Texas
Published : 25 Apr 2019, 23:13
A killer was executed Wednesday night, 21 years after an infamous hate crime in east Texas, the United States, local media reported on Thursday.
According to a report by the local newspaper Houston Chronicle, John William King, 44, was executed by lethal injection Wednesday night in Huntsville, about 115 km north of downtown Houston.
The execution came after the United States Supreme Court turned down King's last petition for a stay.
King and two other co-conspirators were convicted two decades ago for killing James Byrd Jr. in an act of unfathomable racist brutality in the small town of Jasper, about 215 km northeast of downtown Houston.
Less than a year after the killing, two killers were sentenced to death. The co-conspirator Lawrence Brewer, 44, was executed in 2001, and the third co-conspirator Shawn Berry was sentenced to life in prison.
In the early hours of June 7, 1998, King, along with Brewer and Berry, abducted Byrd, 49, while he was walking home in Jasper. Byrd was beaten, urinated on and dragged about 3 km behind a pickup by log chains attached to his ankles.
The victim's mangled body was dumped at an African-American cemetery.
The murder of James Byrd Jr. led Texas to pass the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act in 2001, strengthening punishments for crimes motivated by bigotry. In 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was passed into federal law, broadening the ability of the federal government to prosecute hate crimes.